Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Privacy Advocates Should Go After China, Lay Off NSA


WASHINGTON — Internet privacy advocates are doing the right thing by protesting warrantless government surveillance of the internet — they’re just going after the wrong government, a former lawyer for the National Security Agency said Tuesday.

Speaking on panel at the Computers Freedom and Privacy Conference here, one-time NSA general counsel Stuart Baker raised the specter of Chinese government spying, focusing in particular on the so-called GhostNet findings reported by security researchers at the University of Toronto in March.

Those researchers found the a commonly-available Trojan horse called “gh0st” had been deployed against foreign embassies, international news media outlets and non-governmental organizations, primarily in South and Southeast Asia. More than 1,200 computers were targeted, including some at the offices of the Dalai Lama. The researchers traced the network to island of Hainan in China.

“It’s significant, I think, because what was done here can be done to any of us,” said Baker. “The prospect that this can be done to those sorts of sophisticated operations on such a scale, really raises the prospect that all out network tools can be used against us. This is a very troubling development and one that I think privacy organizations should be focused on” instead of worrying about the NSA.


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